This is the first in a series of articles about Samson
Bummer calves, people call them. We didn’t. From day one, he was called Samson. Such a strong name for a sad little orphaned calf. This story starts a year ago, Spring 2014.
It was a mud hole that was his birthing ground, and his mother could not handle the problem. On a Sunday evening, just about dusk, our friend and neighbor Don, had found this newborn calf struggling for life in the cold mud. The mother had abandoned him in all commotion and was no-where to be found. Don called the farm asking for advice and help.
Don had gotten the 60 lb. calf up to his barn, but was having trouble getting him warmed up. Samson’s legs were stiff and frozen into birthing position, he was too weak to lift his head, and his body temperature was much too low. Burlap bags were used to clean the mud and goo off the baby. Hair dryers, set on warm, were used to dry his matted hair.
Standing up to nurse is the most natural and safest method for the calf. It is far too easy for the milk to trickle down into his lungs if he is not in the right position. It took a good hour before he was warm enough to stand. The emergency bag of colostrum was used in the calf nursing bottle. This formula is specially designed to act like mothers first milk for the calf, providing the proper nutrients and antibodies that jump start the digestion and overall health of the calf.
It was a long slow session, but the calf finally took about a cup of the life saving formula into his system. It was enough for the little one to survive through the night. A small pen was formed by hay bales. Samson laid down on soft hay in the middle of the pen, a clean burlap bag was placed over his body to retain what little warmth he was producing. He was plum tuckered out. In the morning, Don tried to feed Samson, but the calf was far too weak. Don realized that it was going to take mountainous effort to keep this little one alive long enough for him to survive. It was decided that the calf would be brought here to our farm where we had the resources to handle it.
And so it began, the story of Samson.